Talladega Superspeedway At 50: Bill France’s Vision For Palace Of Speed Came To Life In 1969

| April 15, 2019 @ 5:00 am

By Talladega Superspeedway

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a six-part series chronicling the creation of Talladega Superspeedway, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, featuring highlights from springtime racing events through the decades.

In September 1969, prior to the first NASCAR premier series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Bill France Sr. was asked why he decided to build the world’s largest and greatest Superspeedway near a northeastern Alabama community.

“Talladega is centrally located within a 300-mile radius of a population of 20 million people,” said France, then the president of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation, Talladega’s parent company. “It’s stock car racing country. We wanted Talladega because we wanted to take the world’s best racing to the people. That’s why we built the world’s greatest speedway where we did.”And, so, Talladega Superspeedway – then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway – was born. In 2019, the 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked venue celebrates its 50th anniversary, kicking off with a tripleheader weekend, featuring the GEICO 500 on April 28. The track has come a long way since that first race that saw journeyman Richard Brickhouse go to Gatorade Victory Lane. But, just how did the palace of speed come to be?

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